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Leading items

What a year. 1998 was the year that the Linux snowball really started to roll. Linus may have seen it all coming; the rest of us have probably been surprised at least once over the course of this year. And we have just begun.

We have put together a Linux 1998 timeline for your enjoyment. Please have a look and fill us in on the stuff that we missed; we'll put out a final version our next newsletter. Creating this timeline was a fair amount of work, but rewarding. It's impressive to see all that has happened (or even a small subset thereof) in one place.

Here, in your editor's view, are some of the more significant developments in the Linux world over the past year:

  • The public perception of Linux changes. Once seen as a toy system for hobbyists, it's now the hot system du jour. The hype will subside sooner or later, but the penguin is now taken seriously, and that will not change.

  • Big business discovers Linux. Be it Oracle, IBM, Intel, Sun, Dell, or even Microsoft, large corporations have caught on to Linux (and free software in general) and are trying to figure out how to deal with it. The result is more software for Linux, more high-profile deployments, and also more serious thought on how to compete with Linux.

  • The bazaar approach shows its viability for large projects. GNU struggled for ten years to produce a significant set of utilities; now a project like KDE or GNOME can set very ambitious goals just months in the future - and meet them. Even WINE, long held up as an example of the limits of free software development, is making good progress. This change is a direct result of the increasing popularity of free software; more users translates into more developers.

  • Kernel development runs up against human limits. The limits of the "single benevolent dictator" model are demonstrated through a couple of burnout scenes over the year. Kernel development remains vibrant and healthy, and a 2.2 kernel of outstanding quality will be available in the very near future. But some of the problems we have seen will come back again.
Such a short list necessarily leaves out a lot.

What do we have to look forward to next year? 1999 will be the year that Linux consolidates its gains and proves that it will be around for the long run. Talk of the "Linux fad" will fade away. We will see what Microsoft will really do to compete with Linux; "Windows 2000" alone will prove insufficient, to say the least. Preinstalled systems will be available from the large PC vendors. More consumer "shrink wrap" software will be ported. Between KDE and GNOME Linux will have not one but two top-quality graphical desktops. The Linux community is likely to suffer new stresses due to a large influx of new users and due to the increasing presence of large corporate players with their own agendas.

In other words, next year will be at least as interesting as this year was, and likely more so. We have only just begun.

LWN is shorthanded this week due to sick authors and sick disk drives. What you're reading is essentially the work of one person; please accept our apologies if some of the sections are a little thin.

This is the last issue of LWN for 1998, as we will be taking next week off to celebrate the holidays. Our next issue will come out on January 7, 1999. (There will be occasional daily page updates in between). We thank you all for being such a great reader community, and wish you the best of holidays and a great new year.

December 24, 1998


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See also: last week's Security page.


Word Perfect 8 for Linux uses /tmp in the usual sort of dangerous way, see this note for details. The problem extends beyond just the installation to every time WP is run. Thus, not running WP as any sort of powerful user is recommended (and a good idea anyway).

Wietse Venema responded to several claims of security vulnerabilities in Postfix/Secure Mailer. His position initially was that no significant problems had yet been found. Read his responsefor the whole thing. Subsequently Daniel Bernstein (author of Qmail) posted this strongly-worded message about a particular problem he had found. Wietse responded thusly. To say that there appears to be some bad blood between those two would be an understatement.

CERT sent out an advisory regarding a vulnerability in BSD-derived TCP stacks; this problem exists in a large number of systems out there (see the advisory for more). However, Linux does not have this vulnerability. Linux is one of the few systems out there that does not have a TCP implementation derived from BSD; it's an independently developed stack.

A modified version of tcplogd was posted which is able to detect a wider variety of attempted TCP protocol attacks. Here's the posting with the source for those who would like to give it a try. A "more advanced" version is promised for the future.

Due to editor error, three security alerts from Red Hat failed to make it into last week's security page. Please note that Red Hat has issued updated RPMs for XFree86 3.3.3, the ftp client, and Netscape. All contain fixes for known security problems and upgrades to these packages are recommended for everyone that has them installed.

December 24, 1998


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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is 2.1.132. This release was, once again, a large patch, incorporating many of Alan Cox's "ac" patches. A tiny 2.1.133 prepatch is available, with not much in it. There is also a much larger 2.1.132ac2 patch available from Alan Cox with lots of fixes in it. There have been murmurings of a 2.2 pre-release during the week after Christmas, but that seems optimistic.

The Linux kernel archive mirror system will likely be active by the time you read this. This system will provide an extensive and easy to use mirror network for the Linux kernel, thus ending the problems with getting into kernel.org. Watch the daily updates page for the actual announcement once it's available.

Problems with core. There's been a rising number of complaints about the "net/core" directory in the kernel distribution. Many systems out there are infested with programs that assume that something called "core," even if it's a directory, should be removed, ignored, or otherwise treated like garbage. Automatic core dump removers run out of cron are can be particularly obnoxious to those trying to keep a kernel source tree around. CVS also ignores things called "core" by default.

To address these inconveniences, people occasionally request that the "core" directory be renamed to something else. Linus is unsympathetic, stating instead that the tools should be fixed. There have also been calls to rename core dump files, perhaps to something that incorporates the name of the program that created them.

A new kernel patch archive has been announced. This one, called, appropriately, the Linux kernel patch archive, aims to be an index of all the non-official kernel patches out there. It is set up to allow patch maintainers to maintain their index records themselves, "less effort than sending an announcement mail").

Breaking the 2GB file size barrier. Matti Aarnio got tired of hearing talk of how hard it was to implement large files on 32-bit machines, so he went and did it. Here's his announcement describing what he has come up with so far. Needless to say, he's looking for help and for testers.

Speak up! Version 0.04 of "speakup," a set of kernel patches which create audio output from a Linux system console, has been released. It applies to late 2.1 kernels; see the announcementfor more.

Rik van Riel has released a using Linux with > 1GB RAM HOWTO, in response to the increasing numbers of questions along those lines recently. He's looking for feedback on the early version; see his announcement for more.

December 24, 1998

Since we're a weekly publication, chances are we'll be behind a rev or two on the kernel release by the time you read this page. Up-to-the-second information can always be found at LinuxHQ.


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See also: last week's Distributions page.



Here's a brief story wherein you can read about the difficult fate of the FTP site that put up a CD image of the Mandrake distribution for FTP. Evidently quite a few people wanted it...

Red Hat

Red Hat's long-standing habit of silently including updates on later CD's of a release (without indicating as much) was a subject of discussion again this week. It was pointed out, for example, that some 5.1 CD's have the 2.0.34 kernel, while others have 2.0.35. Red Hat seems to have heard the complaints: as of 5.2, all 5.2 CD's will be the same, no updates will be included. There will no longer be any confusion over what you have when you hold a Red Hat CD.

A preferable solution from the customer's point of view, of course, would be to get the updates on the CD with some sort of indication that those updates have occurred. A 5.2.1 release, say. Red Hat absolutely refuses to do that, because they don't want to take returns from distributors when the version number increments. So the resulting solution is not optimal, but consistent releases are at least a step in the right direction.

For those who haven't yet heard the news...KDE RPM's have appeared in Red Hat's "Rawhide" distribution, and can thus be considered likely to appear in 6.0... Evidently the QPL is considered "good enough" by Red Hat.


Version 1.7.100 of the tomsrtbt distribution has been announced; "setserial" and "dhcpcd" have been added this time around.


Version 0.47 of the Trinux micro distribution has been released. Trinux boots off of 2-3 floppies, and has a strong emphasis on providing a comprehensive set of security tools. See the announcement for more.

December 24, 1998

Please note that not every distribution will show up every week. Only distributions with recent news to report will be listed.


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See also: last week's Development page.

Development tools


For those who are curious about Sun's support for Java under Linux, we recommend checking out this posting from Kevin Hendricks of the Blackdown Porting team. Sun, as it turns out, has been quite actively supporting the Linux Java porting effort.



Python 1.5.2 beta1 has been released; read the announcement for more information. One more beta release is expected in early January, then 1.5.2 goes out the door for real and work begins on 1.6, which should be the last of the 1.* series.

Here's this week's Python-URL, full, as usual, of Python goodness.


And here's this week's Tcl-URL.

The tkWorld project has a new web site at www.tkworld.org.

December 24, 1998



Development projects

Another interesting site out there for those of you who think that Linux is too old, stable, and generally complete. The folks in the KOSH (Kommunity Operating System and Hardware) project not only want to create their own OS, they want to design the hardware that goes with it. We wish them luck. (Found in OS News).


GNOME 0.99.0 is out. Although it has not been announced, GNOME 0.99.0 tarballs, RPM's, etc. are available on the GNOME FTP sites. The new version of the GNOME users guide is also available.


Zope 1.9 Final has been released; see the announcement for more.

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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and business

For those who are curious, the download page for Word Perfect 8 gives the total number of downloads thus far; over 213,000 as of this writing. More than 80,000 of those happened on the first day. (Thanks to Preston Crow).

Informix has released their "Informix dynamic server" for Linux, available for a free "30 day trial" download. They even include email technical support.

Red Hat has released a new version of their secure server product. Upgrades are available for those who have already purchased an older version of the product. See the announcement for more.

PC Plus Magazine (in the U.K.) will include StarOffice on the cover CD for their January issue. They claim some sort of exclusive arrangement wherein they will be the only magazine able to distribute StarOffice in this way.

Press Releases:

December 24, 1998


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See also: last week's Linux in the news page.

Linux in the news

It was a relatively slow week in the press, perhaps due to the holidays. Your editor is pleased to have a rational number of articles to deal with for a change...

This week's recommended readings:

  • This Sm@rt Reseller article about IBM and Linux created a lot of controversy this week, due to its suggestion that IBM would like to change the licensing of the Linux kernel. "For the past month, channel sources have expected IBM to announce a sweeping service and support agreement for Red Hat Software's Red Hat Linux... But what's really held IBM back from an official support alliance with Red Hat, say sources close to the company, are legal issues."

  • The Motley Fool briefly mentions Linux in an article about Microsoft. "...a recent study from International Data Corporation found that over the past year Linux shipments have more than tripled from 6.8 percent to 17.2 percent of the server OS market. NT shipments remained steady, around 36 percent over the same period, although the market as a whole grew about 25 percent. Companies recently publicly increasing their support for Linux include: Apple, Compaq, and Sun. I can't really comment on the rumors coming out of IBM, but I might be able to get away with nodding a lot."

  • Here's a PC Week article about "Linux's enterprise evolution." It talks about GNOME, the possibility of support from IBM, and even the Coda file system.

  • Internet Week looks at the Burlington Coat Factory and their information systems. They have installed hundreds of Linux systems on desktops. "The company also plans to port its Solaris in-store, line-of-business applications to Linux to let the company have the same operating system across clients and servers, as well as extend the life span of about 300 aging Sun Microsystems SPARC servers." Another good example for people who say Linux is only used by hobbyists. (Scroll just over halfway down to find this article).

  • Diary of a Linux bumpkin is a longish ZDNet article describing one writer's encounter with the OS. "Luckily, I'm beginning to realize that Linux isn't really hard, it's just a lot. It isn't easy, but it is really, really simple. I expect that once you know it, anything else would seem confusing and needlessly complex. Not to mention unstable."

  • Numerous people have written in to tell us that Science Magazine ran an article about Linux in their December 11 issue. Science articles are not available to non-subscribers, so we can't provide a link. It's a fairly standard, accurate, and positive introductory article in a high profile publication. "Linux, by all accounts, is stable, powerful, and fast--and it's free. Yes, free: Linux is the fruit of a kind of online commune, an intellectual descendant of the counterculture of the 1960s."

Much of the press that we did see this week was, unsurprisingly, 1998 retrospectives, often with only passing mentions of Linux.

  • The Industry Standard has a review of 1998 that includes a brief piece on free software. "While Microsoft struggles mightily to fend off antritrust charges, its dominant position in the software world is being challenged by a quiet but dangerous development: the coming of age of open-source software."

  • ZDNet ran an incredible number of such articles, including: this predictions article suggests that U.S. export laws might be changed to restrict exports of Beowulf cluster technology (seems like a hard thing to do). This look back says that Red Hat 5.2 was "the biggest NOS spash of the year." This one briefly reviews Beowulf and the coming of the database vendors. Yet another retrospective says that "The longest-lasting result of the Linux upswing may be its prompting Novell and IBM to start adopting the open-source model." Linux made the "Inter@ctive 101." This one seems to say that Linux isn't serious because its COMDEX presence was substandard. Finally, here's a Babcock column about the increase in Linux's market share.

  • Linux made Time's list of the top ten technology stories of 1998. "Nineteen ninety-eight was the year Linux came into its own. Beloved of techies worldwide, passed by hand from geek to geek, Linux has gained an international cult following of around 7 million." (Found in LinuxToday).

  • Nicholas Petreley's 1998 retrospective is less positive about Linux than one might expect, given the source. "Someone will undoubtedly label 1998 as the year Linux took the market by storm. This conclusion is premature... Should Microsoft ultimately win the [antitrust] case, however, I guarantee vendors will abandon Linux faster than a rat out of an aqueduct."

  • As it seemed was going to happen, Jenni of the JenniCam beat out Linus to win the ZDNN "newsmaker of the year" award. At least, the article says so; people clicking through the results are seeing a different outcome and wondering why. As mentioned before, the JenniCam, while most certainly not a Linux site, is at least hosted on a Linux server (and that must be why so many of you clicked through and visited there when we discussed this poll before, right?)

  • There's another top technology events of 1998 poll out there, this one on MSNBC. Linux sits at fifth place as of this writing. (Thanks to Delbert Matlock).

Some articles were of the business variety, either talking about the business of Linux, or in the form of product reviews.

  • ComputerWorld has an article about the enterprise backup systems (like SpectraLogic's "Alexandria") that are moving into the Linux world. "'I think a lot of organizations are evaluating use of Linux right now ... but [Linux's] backup utilities aren't sufficient,' said Dave Hill, an analyst at Aberdeen Group Inc. in Boston."

  • In Internet Week: Linux didn't quite win their Coolest of the Cool award. "What dropped [Linux] into second place with the rest of the pack was that we wanted Coolest of the Cool to be about technical excellence, and what we thought cool about Linux was mainly its sudden and amazing political and market presence. Any product that's free, open and can still make Microsoft sweat is definitely cool in our eyes. On a technical level, though, it still has a way to go in terms of ease of use and cross-platform support."

  • VAR Business reflects on the increasing popularity of open source in this article. "The main attraction of working with open source code, say VARs, is that it offers the opportunity to provide clients with a more granular level of customization."

  • Here's a ZDNet article about Corel, jBridge, and WINE. "[Corel CEO] Cowpland predicted that within the next twelve months, WINE would enable Linux servers to run a whole slew of Windows applications."

  • Inter@ctive Week ran a brief article about the growth in Linux shipments in 1998, with mentions of Corel and BSDI.

  • MSNBC reviews the Corel Netwinder. They like it. "I can report that even in this early beta form, the Netwinder is wonderful." (Thanks to Richard Storey and "llornkcor").

  • Here's an article (in German) in Schwäbischen Zeitung Online. It talks about Java and Linux, and why Microsoft is worried about them. As usual, translations are available via Babelfish for the non German-capable. (Thanks to Lenz Grimmer).

Other miscellaneous and introductory articles:

  • This long article in Newmedia.com compares open source software to Native American Potlatch ceremonies; it's a highly positive treatment. "Open source lets users take advantage of innovation rather than be victimized by it. There's a world of difference between receiving buggy binaries and reporting problems back to the developers who promise a new release 'real soon now,' and receiving source code that allows your own engineers to make the fixes." There are also sidebars on Eric Raymond, different open source licenses, and a comparison between Linux and Windows NT. (Found in LinuxToday).

  • "Project Heresy," C|Net Radio's experiment with working with a Linux-only system, has posted a 1998 wrapup of their experience. It's available in RealAudio format on the Project Heresy page. (Thanks to Benji Selano and Jeffery Cann).

  • Information Week speculates on an unhappy new year at Microsoft. "Based on the amount of E-mail I've received from Microsoft and its public relations agency regarding Linux and open source software, it's clear that someone is concerned. There's one predictable outcome to these two factors-you can expect Microsoft to play both the FUD card and the pricing card as it gets closer to releasing Windows 2000"

  • PC Magazine UK has a brief article about Linux as a network operating system.

  • Is Linux a fad? asks ZDTV. When we first mentioned this poll in the daily updates page the "yes" votes were winning decisively; the situation has since turned the other way. ZDTV also has a chat topic entitled Is Linux here to stay?.

  • This article in the National Post talks about the new IDC numbers, mentions the possibility of Linux systems from Apple, and finishes out with a bit of support FUD. (Thanks to "aandres").

  • Finally, here's a Detroit News article about the "Squeak" programming language. Squeak is an open source implementation of Smalltalk that seems to be gaining in popularity. "Companies such as Disney like Squeak because it is open source, and taps potentially thousands of developers all over the world."

December 24, 1998


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See also: last week's Announcements page.




Richard Stallman is looking for people to take on GNU encryption code in countries which are not signatories to the "Wassenaar agreement." Please check out his posting and help out if you can.


The Project Australia Computer Bank is trying to collect old computers, put Linux on them, and pass them on to low-income folks and schools who can use them. We wish them luck! (Found in LinuxToday).

The Linux Kernel Module Programmers Guide is a new addition to the online book collection at the Linux Documentation Project. This guide is currently at version 1.0.


Registration for the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo is now open.

Web sites

The Linux Knowledge Base seeks to archive "all technical Linux information" in one place with a nice search interface. They are currently looking for feedback on what they have so far.

The Samovar Awards page now has the "three most important tech industry events" listed; Linux is one of them.

December 24, 1998



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
3dPM 0.5 Modeller for Povray 3
afbackup 3.1.1 Client-server backup system
Altima 0.1.0 A free version of the Ultima online
Amaya 1.4 Ttest-bed browser/authoring tool of the W3C
appindex 0.01 Perl frontend to freshmeat's application index
Artistic Style 1.2.0 Indentation and reformatting filters for C, C++, Java
asp2php 0.01 Converts Active Server Pages (ASP) to PHP3 scripts
AutoLink 2.11 Provides functions to the user for transfering dynamic MPI
AutoMap 2.11 Create Message Passing Interface (MPI) data-types out of user data-types
BeroFTPD 1.3.1 FTP server program based on WU-FTPD
BigBrother Stats 0.15 Counter for websites that produces some statistics based on the info gathered
binutils Provides programs to assemble and manipulate binary andobject files.
Blackbox 0.50.2 WindowManager for X11 written in C++
BOOM 0.3 The World's First Linux-Only Modification For Quake 2
bootpc 0.64 Boot protocol client
C Masqdialer Server 0.3.2 Protocol compatible replacement for Masqdialer server written in C
C-Forge IDE 1.1-10 Multi-user C/C++ integrated development environment
CDDA Paranoia III Alpha 9.4 CD ripping application
Celebrat 0.9.6 Very simple non-interactive command-line calendar
Cheops 0.58 Network User Interface
Comp-jugador 0.1.1b Conjugates Spanish verbs
Compaq Smart-2 Driver 0.9.3 Linux Driver for Compaq Smart-2 PCI Disk Array Controllers
Corel WordPerfect 8.0 PE Commerical word processor for Linux (and many other platforms)
Cryptonite 0.95 Pure Java Strong Encryption Package
curl 5.3 Tiny command line client for getting data from a URL
DailyUpdate 5.0.1 Grabs dynamic information from the internet and integrates itinto your webpage
DDD 3.1.2 Common graphical user interface for GDB, DBX and XDB
egcs snapshot 19981220 Experimental set of enhancements for the GNU tools
EPIC 4pre2.001-NR10 ANSI capable textmode IRC Client
Etherboot 4.1pre6 Source code for making TCP/IP boot ROMs to boot Linux and other OSes
Exim 2.10 Message Transfer Agent for Unix systems
exscan 0.2 An enhanced network/Internet port scan utility
FakeBO 0.1.6 Fakes Back Orifice server responses and logs incoming requests
feeder-stats 3.90 Daily statistics script for the DIABLO news server.
Fetchmail 4.7.1 Free, full-featured, robust, well-documented remote-mailretrieval utility
Form Maker 0.0.3 Automated form generation and completion.
FSViewer 0.0.2 File Viewer lookalike for Window Maker.
ftpcheck 0.31 Searches for anonymous ftp sites on given nodes/networks
FVWM 2.1.5 The classic highly configurable virtual window manager
Gaby 0.2.5 An address book written in GTK
Gcdplay 1.2 GPL'ed CD player with local and server-based cddb support.
gentoo 0.9.18 Two-pane filemanager using GTK+, 100% GUI configurable
GGUI 0.2.0 An easy multi-purpose, multi-program GUI.
giflib 4.0 A library for reading and writing gif images
Gifsicle 1.9.1 Command-line tool for creating, editing, and optimizing GIFs and animations
GLib 1.1.9 The GLib library of C routines
gnome-python 0.90 Python interfaces to gnome-libs
gnometool 0.5.1 Tiny perl program to manage Gnome CVS modules
GnoRPM 0.5 A graphical front end to the Redhat package managementsystem
gnotepad+ 1.0.6 An easy-to-use, yet fairly feature-rich, simple text editor
GNU Ghostscript 5.10 Provides an interpreter for the PostScript language, and a set of C procedures
GNU Pilot Logbook Pro 0.90 A logbook program for pilots.
GNU Privacy Guard 0.9.0 GPLed PGP replacement tool
GNUJSP 0.9.6 A free Java Server Pages implementation
Gomoku Apprentice 0.3 A gomoku player learning from its own mistakes
gPhoto 0.1.1-DR GNU Digital Camera download software
gpnpconf 0.5.3a Perl/Gtk applet for Plug 'n' Play device configuration
GQmpeg 0.4.4 A front end to the mpg123 mpeg audio player
GradeBook 0.0.1 A gradebook system for an entire school system
Graph 1.0.0 A small mathematical compiler that produces Xfig output
Grip 0.6 A gtk-based frontend for CD-rippers
Groundhog 1.0 Logic game written with GTK
gRun 0.7.4 GTK based Run dialog
gsyn 0.2 TB-303 software synthesizer
GTK+ 1.1.9 Library for creating graphicaluser interfaces
GtkEditor 0.0.4 Source code editor widget for GTK.
gtkgo 0.0.3 Go game for Linux and Windows
GTKYahoo 0.1 GTK based Yahoo! Pager client
GtkZip 0.1 A program for maintaining your Iomega Zip drive disks underLinux
guiTAR 0.0.4 guiTAR is a tar frontend for Gtk+
HCP 0.1.9 A protocol for every form of human communication over networks
icewm 0.9.20 Window Manager designed for speed, usability and consistency
iclock 0.2.4 Nice little X11 clock with easy to use alarm and skins support
id3ren 0.97a Batch rename (from tags) and tag MP3s
IglooFTP 0.3.1 Graphical and User Friendly FTP CLient
IMHO 0.93 IMAP4 Mail Host for Roxen
imwheel 0.9.5 Support for wheel and 4+ button mice in X11
ISC DHCP 2.0b1pl8 Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol Client and Server implementation
jEdit 1.3pre1 Powerful text editor
jlip 1.12 Multi-line SLIP driver for FreeBSD with IP-over-TCP tunnelling and encryption
jmk-x11-fonts 1.3 Jim's character-cell fonts for the X Window System
KDE 1.1pre1 Powerful graphical desktop environment for Unix workstations.
kISDN 0.7.1 Free Edition ISDN configuration and monitoring GUI
KXicq 0.2.27 The KDE ICQ clone
Lanlord 0.1 A dhcpd lease reporting program. Uses CSS to modifiy report
Leafnode 1.8 NNTP server for small leaf sites
lftp 1.2.2 Sophisticated command line based FTP client
libungif 4.0 A library for reading and writing gif images without LZW compression
Linux Quake Howto Install, run and troubleshoot Quake,QuakeWorld &Quake 2 under Linux
Linux sym53c416 Driver 1.0.0 Linux driver for boards with a sym53c416 SCSI chip.
lookit 0.0.9pre-j4 Utility to view covert information hidden inside sound modules.
lpe 0.3.2 Featureless, small editor
Lynx 2.8.2dev10 fully-featured, text-based World Wide Web browser
mail2sms 0.26 Convert a mail to a short message
mailback 1.0.1 An e-mail autoresponder with support for multiple aliases and exceptions.
make_news_site 0.06 A simple web news site creator
mgeupsd 0.2 MGE Pulsar UPS monitor
Micq 0.3.3 Publically available ICQ clone for the console
Midnight Commander 4.5.3 Unix file manager and shell
MindsEye 0.5.33 3D modelling program for Linux
mirrordir 0.10.20 Provides mirroring, backup, ftp, secure shell, secure file tranfer
mlvwm 0.8.9 Window manager for X11 designed to look and feel like the Macintosh environment
mod_ssl 2.1.4-1.3.3 Apache Interface to SSLeay
moodss 5.6 Modular Object Oriented Dynamic SpreadSheet
Muppet 0.01 A web-based IMAP client written with PHP3
MySQL 3.22.13 SQL (Structured Query Language) database server
Naken Chat 0.86 Chat Server ported from Javachat
NcFTPd 2.3.4 High-performance File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server for UNIXsystems
Ncurses Hexedit 0.8.7 Ncurses file hex editor - edit/insert/delete/search
Network Nibbles 22121998 Fully networked nibbles. svgalib, mesa GL, and curses.
nmap 2.01 Full featured, robust port scanner
OpenMap 3.0.1 JavaBeans tool kit for building applications/applets with maps
OpenSSL 0.9.1c The Open Source toolkit for Secure Sockets Layer and Transport Layer Security
OSKit 0.96 Software kit for easily building new OSes
OWSKiller 0.9 Replacement for Oracle Web Server based on Java Servlets
pg2d 26111998 Generic 2d graphics library.
phpMyAdmin 1.3.0 Handles the basic adminstration of MySQL over the WWW
pircd alpha seven An IRC daemon, written in Perl.
pkgview 0.2 X based RPM package viewer
playlist 0.2 Generates lists in plaintext and HTML for a directory tree of music files
PortScanner 1.2 Simple and easy to use TCP port scanner
PostgreSQL 6.4.1 Robust, next-generation, Object-Relational DBMS(ORDBMS)
Proof General 2.0 Emacs interface for Proof Assistants
PSSlides 1.0 Package for generating PostScript presentation slides
PyGTK 0.5.9 A set of bindings for the GTK widget set
PySol 2.01 A Python-based Solitaire card game
PySol-Cardsets 2.0 A collection of free cardsets for use with PySol
Python 1.5.2 beta 1 High-level scripting language.
Q2Java 0.7.0 Allows Quake2 games to be written in Java
QconsoleD Alpha 0.1 Quake console server
rand 1.2 random pipe
Real Basic Server G2 Streaming media server
RODUN 0.9.9a An extended Rogue clone (Dungeon Game)
Sandmail 0.0010 GTK+ based mime-compliant user mail agent
SCAPUTMEP 1.00 Server-Client-Application to distribute tasks in a heterogenious network
Sced 1.01 modelling program that makes use of geometric constraints
screen 3.7.6 Full-screen window manager that multiplexes a physical terminal
seahaven 1.04 Classic Unix solitaire game
Services 4.1.0 Provides nick/channel/memo services for IRC networks
SNES9x 1.16a Portable, freeware Super Nintendo Entertainment System(SNES) emulator
snowflake 0.01 An interactive snowflake image generator
Stamp snapshot 981220 A GTK+ app for grabbing, timestamping, and uploading jpegs from a quickcam
svgalib 1.3.1 Low-level graphics library that provides VGA and SVGA modes in a console
sXid 3.1.7 All in one suid/sgid monitoring script written in C
Teaser and Firecat Beta-ii Copyleft replacement for the proprietary ICQ system
tkAbout 1.2 Summarizes CPU, memory, and disk data in a nice GUI window
tkMOO-light 0.3.17 Powerful cross-platform chat client.
TkNotepad 0.4.7 A simple notepad editor written in Tcl/tk
transgif 0.1 Gif image manipulations of transparent color
Trinux 0.47 2-disk distribution that includes network security tools and runs in RAM
Unix Desktop Environment 0.1.5b-BETA A new GUI for Unix with a completely new look'n'feel
Web Tree Scanner 1.0 A program to visualize the tree of a WWW server and check the links
WebMacro Framework 0.75 Java server-side web template engine and servletdevelopment framework
wmakerconf 1.5 GTK based configuration tool for WindowMaker window manager
WMiNET 2.0.3 A dockable applet for monitoring all your inet daemon activity
WMSysMon 0.1 System monitor dock app for WindowMaker/AfterStep
WXftp 0.4.1 FTP client for X with nice and intuitive GTK+ and Motif GUI
wxWindows/GTK beta 1 GTK port of the cross-platform wxWindows C++application framework class library
X-Chat 0.4.3 GTK+ Based IRC Client. Alot like AmIRC (Amiga).
X-Mame 0.34rc1.1 The Unix version of the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator
XAmixer 0.2.1 An ALSA based mixer program written with GTK+
XCclock 1.0 Offers a nice clock and an alarm function
xdiskusage 1.03 Graphical display of disk usage
XEvil 2.0 beta 7 3rd person, side-view, fast-action, kill-them-before-they-kill-yougame.
XGlobe 0.1 A toy that displays a globe on your X desktop
xmp 2.0.0dev29b An OpenSource module for UNIX
yip 0.9 An enhancement kit for aub
zback 0.10 Quick and easy utility to painlessly backup files to a zip archive.
Zope 1.9b3 Web application platform used for building high-performance, dynamic web sites.

Our software announcements are provided courtesy of FreshMeat


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Back page page.

Linux links of the week

Xshare looks like another attempt to compete with FreshMeat. The graphic design is nice; the quality of the database to be determined.

The Giant Java tree is a project to create a comprehensive set of Java classes, all implemented with open source code.

December 24, 1998



Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor should be sent to editor@lwn.net. Preference will be given to letters which are short, to the point, and well written. If you want your email address "anti-spammed" in some way please be sure to let us know. We do not have a policy against anonymous letters, but we will be reluctant to include them.
From: cbbrowne@godel.brownes.org
To: editor@lwn.net
Subject: Free Software (Gift) Exchange Registry - FSEX
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 10:59:14 -0600

I have been known to write essays on occasion :-).

The latest is more directly a "call to action" than most of the others.
See the URL <http://www.ntlug.org/~cbbrowne/fssp.html>

The premise is that I would like to establish a "registry" where
reasonably authoritative lists of addresses of developers of free
software may be collected.  

- Individuals would be encouraged to send gifts to people on the list.  

- By collecting (voluntarily contributed) information on what gifts had
been sent, this allows people to "optimize" their preferences towards
where contributions may "need" to go.  Thus, they have opportunity to
pick developers themselves based on some perception of "need."

[This building of a distributed self-optimizing economic system
somewhat parallels the way Linux development works...  That can't be
a bad thing!]

- This approach *avoids* the bureaucracy entailed by the formation of
a formal charitable organization.  I would expect this to discourage 
corporate "gifts," but avoids a whole host of complexity by its

- From a tax perspective, gifts may not be tax deductible to the giver,
but by the same token, would not be taxable in the hands of the one who
receives it, so that the overall situation is a "wash."

As the Christmas season arrives, a thought to pass on:

Why not locate a nice Christmas card with a penguin on it (has
everyone noticed that penguins are "in" this year?), drop $20 into
it, and send it to some developer that has built software you found
useful?  (And remember that if Linus' wife has to fight through bags
of mail, she knows martial arts, and may have complaint about this!
Rather better to distribute any wealth...)
cbbrowne@hex.net  - What have you contributed towards Linux today?
North Texas Linux Users Group <http://www.ntlug.org/~cbbrowne/fssp.html>
From: Matthew Benjamin <MBenjamin@comshare.com>
To: "'nicholas_petreley@infoworld.com'" <nicholas_petreley@infoworld.com>
Subject: Pretreley Linux Fandom on the Wane?
Date: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 13:21:06 -0500

I found your "rat out of an aqueduct" remarks disturbing.  Seeing as
you have been active in promoting Linux of late, are you now trying to
be among the first to sling mud at Linux?

Quite frankly, I don't think those ISVs supporting Linux are
significantly motivated by the MS anti-trust action.  (The case may be
different among PC vendors, I don't know.)

At my company, there is significant support among developers to do
Linux--because "Linux is cool."  Strategic marketing is potentially
interested in _anything_ that customers say they want, and many are
saying they are interested in Linux.  This has the power to change
opinions at companies large and small.

I, for one, had enough "Windows NT is the future" sloganeering years
ago, and I question its relevance now.  Microsoft, of course, can say
whatever they want.  However, they will find that consumers take a
quite different attitude towards such posturing than they did
pre-Linux emergence, and, indeed, pre-anti-trust.  Microsoft is big,
but they are neither invincible nor the permanent direction of
technical evolution.  As consumers become more sophisticated, in fact,
Microsoft looks less like a technology company, and more like KMart.
That is inevitable, and will not assist Microsoft in the least.

Meanwhile, the Linux and OSS communities have evolved their own (very
effective) mechanisms for generating publicity, and they are so
informative and effective that I believe no trade press FUD campaign
can have the choice-damaging effects that the all-commercial trade
press allowed previous MS campaigns to exert.  This, of course,
resounds to the benefit of consumers.

Linux, for its part, got where it is by being technically viable
_before_ a single one of the usual suspects had anything to do with
it.  Larry Ellison and Nicholas Pretreley can abandon Linux whenever
they like--but since they neither own nor develop Linux, I submit that
this will only leave a desirable market to the new generation of ISVs
and IHVs who have made Linux their business over the past 4 years.  In
accounts where I've deployed Linux commercially, there is no intention
to replace it with anything.  It just works too well, is too
hassle-free.  There is talk about migrating other functions to Linux.

Hard as it may be to believe, Linux, the free UNIX, is winning on
quality, not cost.

Just the same, are you suggesting that you're a rat looking for a way
out of this aqueduct?  I think a lot of Linux supporters would be
interested to know.

Matt Benjamin
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 11:05:35 -0500 (EST)
From: Jonathan C Day  <j.c.day@larc.nasa.gov>
To: editor@lwn.net
Subject: "Newsmaker of the Year" article

Dear editor,

   ZDNN's "newsmaker of the year" award was a blatant confidence trick,
IMHO. Their "results", as described in the article, have NO connection
with the results actually given in the poll. In the poll itself, Linus
beat Jenni by over 10%! It seems very clear that the "poll" results had
a fixed outcome, regardless of the votes cast. It is one thing for an
editor to "prefer" one newsmaker over another. Indeed, it would be very
unusual for an editor to have so suppressed their own feelings as to
have no preference at all. It is another to produce an article which is
completely false, in an effort to "promote" that preference.
   Linus won that poll, fair and square. (Well, as fair as on-line polls
ever get. :) He deserves the credit for that achievement.

Jonathan Day

Subject: Re: (Online News, 12/10/98 05:17 PM)
Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 01:15:44 -0700
From: Alan Robertson <alanr@henge.com>
To: Tom_Diederich@cw.com

Mr. Diederich:

In the article referenced above, you state:

	However, because Linux predates Windows NT and has
	problems taking advantage of capabilities packed in
	current-generation hardware, Enderle said he doubts the
	operating system will ever become a mainstream desktop

I believe this information is incorrect and misleading.  Version 1 of
Linux came out in 1994.  Version 1 of Windows NT predated that by
several years.  Linux takes advantage of every chip feature (including
3D graphics) of each of the various PC manufacturers, in addition to
those of Sun's chips, COMPAQ's Alpha, SGI's MIPS chips, IBM/APPLE's
Power PC chips, and numerous other chips in addition to the three major
Intel vendors.

According to Microsoft, older releases of Linux run Netscape roughly 30%
faster than NT runs Internet Explorer.  This is not likely to be due to
being unable to take advantage of the hardware.  Additionally, (in the
second of the so-called "Halloween" documents) Microsoft has also stated
that doing OS development for Linux is cheaper and faster than
corresponding development for NT.  This is likely to be a result of
Microsoft NT designers carrying over large parts of the VMS system they
had designed before.  [Microsoft hired away Digital's key VMS designers
to create their New Technology operating system in the late 80's - this
resulted in a lawsuit against MS for stealing Digital technology, which
was settled by MS agreeing to port NT to the Alpha]

Linux is slated to run the new Merced chip in 64-bit native mode within
a month or so of its introduction.  Intel is rumored to be already
running Linux on it in their labs.  This is a reasonable thing for Intel
to do, since if they port Linux to it, then they can have a solid test
base for their new chip architecture, without relying on outside vendors
(since they already have the source).  In some ways, it is a CPU
designer's dream come true -- a portable, retargetable compiler, a
highly portable modern OS inside, and no need to motivate an outside
software company to do the work, or disclose details of your design to

As you are no doubt aware, Microsoft does not claim that Windows NT will
run native on the Merced line until sometime in late 2000.  64-bit mode
will take longer.  If history runs true to form, it is nearly certain
that there will be some delay from a prediction made this far in
advance.  If recent history were used as a guide, one might conclude
that a significant delay is likely.

Although it started later than NT, it already runs in 64-bit mode on the
DEC Alpha, and the Sun UltraSparc CPUs.  On Sun's UltraSparc line, it
currently runs on 14-processor complexes.  Sun has committed to provide
test time for Linux developers on their 64-way multi-processor systems.

It seems to me that it if one were to make a comparative claim about the
age and modernity of Linux and NT, that a very different comparison
would be in order.  If you would like references for any of the
information I presented above, I would be happy to provide them on

	Thank you for listening,

	-- Alan Robertson
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 07:51:26 +0800 (CST)
From: Hung(2) Chao(2)-Kuei(4) <ckhung@cyut.edu.tw>
To: editor@lwn.net
Subject: Re: Bittersweet victories

Dear Editor,

Most of us know that it will be good for the proprietary UNIX vendors
to become Linux VARs. Let's make this option clear to the proprietary
UNIX vendors. And there is something they need help each other with
along the way.

For one thing, the general public need to realize that the key to
productivity does not lie so much in obtaining and installing a lot
of software programs, be it proprietary or open source. Very often
it is how well they are configured that makes a real big difference
in productivity. As OSS goes main stream, 2 more dimensions of
activities, which were previously too costly with proprietary software,
emerge to affect productivity, namely choosing which programs to
download and hiring people to customize programs. Choosing, configuring,
and customizing free software (how about calling it "3C's for OSS")
requires IT proficiency. It is necessarily too customer-specific 
for the free copying of OSS to do much help (or harm, if one takes
the vendor perspective). In short, it is where business can make
money while customers can really see their IT expenditures turn into

We know this all along, but the proprietary UNIX vendors (and
proprietary apps vendors, too, for that matter) need be shown a
clear .. uh .. road ahead. Instead of spreading FUD against Linux
in vain (read: resistance is futile), it will benefit themselves
and customers much more by lining up their propaganda towards
showing the difference that effective 3C's can make. Their business
can sail better along with rather than against the OSS currents,
by emphasizing that their experience in UNIX helps them supporting
Linux better, and that "that other operating system" lacks
flexibility in 3C's regard. 

And we as a community should credit vendors for advertising 3C's,
perhaps even more so than vendors porting apps to Linux. Personally
I am glad to see Corel releasing WordPerfect binary for Linux, but
can't help worrying about the sweet relationship turns sour and
bitter when an OSS alternative takes over. By helping the
proprietary software business seeing further, we help making our
community perceived as more helpful to the business. Besides, most
of us (and the future Linux professionals) depend on a prosperous
VAR business model. Yet a very large potential portion of the market
seems still very unmature and only vaguely defined as "support".
The OSS community will also benefit in the long term if the losing
proprietary UNIX vendors systematically advertise 3C's.

Any comments on these points are appreciated. If these points are
valid, I will expand this note and keep it at:
Thank you and Merry Christmas!

Chao-Kuei Hung

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